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Friday, March 18, 2011

You're Finally Here! Written and illustrated by Melanie Watt. Kids Can Press, 2011. $18.95 ages 5 and up

"I couldn't wait any longer!
Thank goodness, you're here!

We'll have the greatest time!!!

You cancelled all your other
plans, right?"

What fun I have had reading this to both children and adults! It will have a permanent space in my reading tote for some time to come. The response is similar with both...raucous laughter and an appeal to hear it again. This bug-eyed rabbit has some attitude; and an emotional bent.
We are met with delight and a loud and hearty welcome. Maracas, a ukulele, cartwheels provide for our entertainment before the grumpy reprimand : "BUT WHERE WERE YOU?"

What little kid won't love the tone of such an opening? Appealing cartoon images, full of expression and impertinent questioning, followed by personal affronts for the lateness of the arrival make this a most amusing read. As we know, wait time is interminable for children. They will definitely relate to the ire felt by the bunny who seems to have been doing that for far too long:

"long enough to watch paint dry...
long enough to find a needle in a haystack...
long enough to learn an accordion solo...
long enough to gather dust bunnies."

To add insult to injury, finding an grungy sweat sock in the haystack and a dust bunny that looks like Uncle Vinnie only makes matters worse.  It's unfair, it's annoying, rude and awkward.  A promise to stop asking abrupt questions about our whereabouts is made should a promise to stay be engineered. A written contract is offered.

Parents and adults who may worry about the practical lessons being taught here need only follow the story to its logical (well, in today's world) conclusion...a cell phone call that interrupts the action and draws the bunny's attention away from his rant:

"And me? know, the usual, still hanging out in my picture book, waiting for a reader.
Yes, one finally showed up!
Yep, seems nice, no fleas, good steady page turner."

Contract forgotten, reader ignored....hmmm!

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